MAYWOOD, CALIF. – The Unified Command for the Fruitland Magnesium Fire Incident in Maywood, Los Angeles County, Calif., continues response operations and assessment of hazardous materials in the aftermath of the fire that began on June 14, 2016. The Unified Command is comprised of representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department Health Hazardous Materials Division (HHMD).
Status of Response: The Unified Command met with evacuated residents on June 21, 2016 to provide information regarding the response to the fire and answer questions about their continued evacuation. More than 100 community members attended the meeting. Attendees received information about additional resources that may be available to evacuees from the American Red Cross, the Department of Social Services, and other entities. Responders are meeting with residents individually at their homes to gain access so that residents may retrieve personal items, and air sampling equipment can be placed in the home. Confirming that indoor air quality in each home is suitable for occupants is the first step in the cleanup process.
Current response activities:
- On the north side of E. 52nd Street, a total of 44 households remain evacuated pending safe occupancy determinations by LA County health officials. These evacuated properties include a mix of single family homes and apartment units.
- LA County is continuing to work with evacuated residents on providing short term housing and other economic assistance.
- South Coast Air Quality Management District and EPA collected air samples during the firefighting operations and documented trace levels of metals that pose a minimal health threat. EPA is continuing air surveillance operations and documenting background levels in air.
- EPA collected ash samples near the facility; preliminary data received to date, as expected, show concentrations of metals, including copper and zinc. The extent and volume of potential contamination at the evacuated residences, as well as any threats to public health, have not yet been determined.
- At evacuated residential properties adjacent to the facility, EPA collected soil samples and indoor air samples. Results are still pending.
- EPA has cleaned the sidewalks and pavement on the following streets: Fruitland Ave. between Everett Ave. and Maywood Ave., Everett Court and 52nd Street between Everett Ave. and Maywood Ave. LA County Fire cleaned the rooftops, driveways, and the pavement on E. 52nd Street.
- Cars parked on E. 52nd Street were cleaned of ash deposited on them. Car owners have been provided a voucher to take to a car wash for a more thorough cleaning.
- EPA is preparing access roads into the burned facility to investigate abandoned chemicals and an unknown number of drums. The burned debris has been treated with a sealant to prevent any off-site migration of contaminants.
- LA County Fire and the CA Department of Toxic Substances Control are investigating the two companies operating at the site of the fire. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the LA County Sheriff’s Department.